Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.
Interactive Cultural – Auckland Project
The intention of my project is to investigate how graphic design can contribute to the development of an interface that represents the Auckland City Councils public/cultural Institutions (such as Auckland Museum, MOTAT, Auckland Zoo, and Auckland Art Gallery) in order to develop the relationship between audience and the sites.
Explore what graphic design issues have been identified when communicating with school children and young people. My key areas of investigation include symbolic use of color, typography, shape, image/text relationship, and navigational preferences.
Key Contextual References
The key contextual references in my work are based on different user experience design through cross-cultural background, and a deeper understanding of the various perspectives of Asian and Western people through way finding.
Compare and contrast the different ways young people interact with each other and the site when visiting key Auckland environments (Auckland Zoo, MOTAT, Auckland Museum, and Auckland Art Gallery) in order to establish the dominant methods of interact. I focus on how young people navigate the space, what exhibits they respond to, what types of interactions already exist in these sites that can be built on in this project.
“Designing without understanding what makes people act the way they do is like exploring a new city without a map.”  This idea not only contributes to any design concepts, but also has influenced the way I should think and do.
“Remember that you are the one who is doing the thinking, not the technique. You are smart and experienced and allowed to have good ideas—cardsorting (and other techniques) is an aid to provide insights and help you create great solutions. But you are the one who puts it all together into a great solution. Follow your instincts, take some risks, and try new approaches.” 
I am going to talk about how the process influences my decision making through research, investigation, problem solving, data analysis, prototyping.
At the beginning of the project, I researched smartphone trends’ locally (New Zealand) and globally. Learnt how the developments of the interface influence the daily life style and looked at how these trends contribute to the design.
The application will be suitable for all smart phone users. However, the target audience is the school children and young people, and the age range is around 5 to 16 years old as this age group has higher rate of visiting the sites than other age group (Survey was conducted for this finding)
The investigation on needs and issues of the audience played the most important part in the process. There are some questions that I considered quite essential in order to fulfill the satisfaction of the audience such as how the users interact in space? How do they feel? In what way that user experience can be improved?
Researching on existing mobile application is crucial. By understanding the pros and cons of the application, the usage of typeface, color, images and graphic style, I can exploit the good part to improve the usability.
The development of the prototypes is trying to solve problem that the audience might encounter during visiting the sites such as: allowing my audience to select any font size that might be comfortable for them to view; choosing their own languages. These are the features I quite keen to look at as New Zealand has a diversity of population, and the user testing will be conducted in order to see if the feature is useful and functional or not. Therefore, I can clearly see whether any other possible features would fit and help the audience to improve the experience.
I have also decided to apply Cardsorting method; it is one of the useful methods for gathering information and analyzing data directly throughout interviewing and discussing with participants. It assists me to be aware of how people interact and navigate through the application, and figure it out what are the main issue and the best solution.
As I have discovered that each institution has their unique identity of color, I would not try to go and try adding or changing their own branding, therefore, I decided to keep the color palate based on the color schemes from each institution in order to build the consistency between them.
My primary choice of typeface for the institutions is Helvetica, I have decided to use this typeface is because it is simplistic and modern, and it is suitable to view in any size. One of the main reason is that Sans Serif font is commonly used in institutions (Motat, Auckland Museum, Auckland Zoo, and Auckland Art Gallery) throughout websites, publications etc….
Other font choice options are BD Cartoon Shout and Ice Age Font. Looking at young people point of view and analyzing the research, comic or cartoony typeface would be more suitable to be fit in an interactive game.
My primary concept of prototyping is to create a simple, classic way to prototype which would allow the users to navigate all the features within the front page. This concept assists people to find what they need from the beginning, avoiding getting lost in the application, the result seems to be worked quite well, however, it limits the usage of design, leading it to look like a ‘feature creep’ application.
The secondary concept is to enhance the relationship between modern design and the institution. The black transparency is used to overlay the image in order to give a sense of secrecy for the institutions.
My tertiary concept is a combination of web site based and smartphone appearance. This gives the idea how to navigate through the application straight away without any tutorial. The top navigation is inspired from the layout of Fackbook, which is highly rated social networking around the world, the middle body part is commonly used website design, and the bottom navigation is the appearance of application in Iphone.
Throughout variety of prototyping, we arrived at the conclusion that all of these prototypes haven’t approached the main target which is to enhance the user experience within the site. It has less interaction within the environment. Therefore, interactive game was suggested and agreed to apply across the application.
This interactive game concept is inspired through the research on the activity that most school children and young people are interested. The usage of GPS map, and QR code/ NFC guides people to interact with the sites, allowing them to gain rewards in order to motivate them to further play or to buy momento at the gift shop. The requirement from young people and clients (MOTAT, Auckland Zoo, Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery) were considered as the essential goal. What do young people need? What do the clients want people to do at the sites?
I have noticed that the graphic style I have been using seems not to suit with the young people. I have explored that young people prefer cartoon and animated graphic, rather than stable images, therefore, I have challenged my design through drawing cartoony character, playing with bright and attractive color, and testing on different type of fonts.
The concept below illustrates the beautiful day with rainbow which is suitable to go out and have fun outside, and the train is the character which young people can choose to play with while visiting the MOTAT.
All of these game plays pass through the same front gate page, the gate page includes four institutions, however only two of them result as working prototype such as MOTAT and Auckland Zoo.
There are two final outcomes to be produced at the end. Firstly, it is the research document, giving the basic understanding of the research, exploration, testing, investigation, and prototyping. The reason for choosing publication as an outcome is because the process contains quite amount of work load, which allow people to have time to read or browse the entire document.
Secondly, a pdf version of user friendly mobile application for smart phone that can be used for two institutions which are Auckland Zoo and MOTAT. This application is designed to assist people navigating, understanding the environment and having best experience when they explore onsite.
The skills I have gained…
Team work is most important in the whole process; it is a new experience and challenging goal that involve in taking responsibility in managing time and having trust. We all understand that a member of team must take own responsibility to complete the task on time.
There is really a big advantage of working collaboratively. Lots of interesting idea and thoughts were brought up and discussed during the process, however not all the concepts were used. What I learn the most is to be flexible and supportive. Not only to be able to have variety of approaching the goal, also to be able to backing up our team.
The most valuable experience is meeting with clients, understanding problem and figuring the best solution for them.
Collaborative Research Link
Please scan the QR code to track the project progress or visit our website :
Downloadable Research Document
 Spencer, Donna. Card Sorting: Designing Usable Categories. Brooklyn, NY: Rosenfeld Media, 2009. Print.
 Weinschenk, Susan. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People. Berkeley, CA: New Riders, 2011. Print
Pedersen, Martin B. Graphis Design Annual 2009. New York: Graphis, 2008. Print.
Gomez-Palacio, Bryony, and Armin Vit. Graphic Design, Referenced: A Visual Guide to the Language, Applications, and History of Graphic Design. Beverly, MA: Rockport, 2009. Print.
Andres, Clay, Catharine M. Fishel, and Pat Matson. Knapp. Identity Design Sourcebook: Successful IDs Deconstructed and Revealed. Gloucester, MA: Rockport, 2004. Print.
Marshall, Lindsey, and Lester Meachem. How to Use Images. London, U.K.: Laurence King, 2010. Print.
Crow, David. Visible Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics in the Visual Arts. Lausanne: AVA Academia, 2010. Print.
Henley, Karyn, and Karyn Henley. Story Telling. Cincinnati, OH: Standard Pub., 1997. Print.
Klanten, Robert. Data Flow: Visualising Information in Graphic Design. Berlin: Gestalten, 2008. Print.
Ai, Weiwei, and Susan Delson. Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals. Munich: Prestel, 2011. Print.
Zhou, Jie. International Visual Communication. Hong Kong: Design Media, 2010. Print
Pedersen, Martin B. Graphis Design Annual 2009. New York: Graphis, 2008. Print.